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Ramayana, Epic of Rama, Prince of India

An Abbreviated Translation of the Indian Classic, the Ramayana by Romesh Chundar Dutt in 2,000 verses

III. The Death

III. The Death of the King - 54 [51] Then returning to the pathway we shall march ere break of day, So our true and faithful people shall not know our southward way.” Wise Sumantra hastened northward, then returning to the road, By his master and his consort and the valiant Lakshman stood, Raghu’s sons and gentle Sita mounted on the stately car, And Sumantra drove the coursers travelling fast and travelling far. Morning dawned, the waking people by Tamasa’s limpid wave, Saw not Rama and his consort, saw not Lakshman young and brave, And the tear suffused their faces and their hearts with anguish burned, Sorrow-laden and lamenting to their cheerless homes returned. VI. Crossing the Ganges, Bharad-vaja’s Hermitage Morning dawned, and far they wandered, by their people loved and lost, Drove through grove and flowering woodland, rippling rill and river crost, Crossed the sacred Vedasruti on their still unending way, Crossed the deep and rapid Gumti where the herds of cattle stray, All the toilsome day they travelled, evening fell o’er wood and lea, And they came where sea-like Ganga rolls in regal majesty, ’Neath a tall Ingudi’s shadow by the river’s zephyrs blest, Second night of Rama’s exile passed in sleep and gentle rest. Morning dawned, the royal chariot Rama would no further own, Sent Sumantra and the coursers back to fair Ayodhya’s town, Doffing then their royal garments Rama and his brother bold Coats of bark and matted tresses wore like anchorites of old. Guha, chief of wild Nishadas, boat and needed succour gave, And the princes and fair Sita ventured on the sacred wave, [52] And by royal Rama bidden strong Nishdas plied the oar, And the strong boat quickly bounding left fair Ganga’s northern shore. “Goddess of the mighty Ganga!” so the pious Sita prayed, “Exiled by his father’s mandate, Rama seeks the forest shade,

III. The Death of the King - 55 Ganga! o’er the three worlds rolling, bride and empress of the sea And from BRAHMA’S sphere descended! banished Sita bows to thee May my lord return in safety, and a thousand fattened kine, Gold and gifts and gorgeous garments, pure libations shall be thine, And with flesh and corn I worship unseen dwellers on thy shore, May my lord return in safety, fourteen years of exile o’er!” On the southern shore they journeyed through the long and weary day, Still through grove and flowering woodland held their long and weary way, And they slayed the deer of jungle and they spread their rich repast, Third night of the princes’ exile underneath a tree was past. Morning dawned, the soft-eyed Sita wandered with the princes brave, To the spot where ruddy Ganga mingles with dark Jumna’s wave, And they crost the shady woodland, verdant lawn and grassy mead, Till the sun was in its zenith, Rama then to Lakshman said: “Yonder mark the famed Prayaga, spot revered from age to age, And the line of smoke ascending speaks some rishi’s hermitage, There the waves of ruddy Ganga with the dark blue Jumna meet, And my ear the sea-like voices of the mingling waters greet. Mark the monarchs of the forest severed by the hermit’s might, And the logs of wood and fuel for the sacrificial rite, Mark the tall trees in their blossom and the peaceful shady grove, There the sages make their dwelling, thither, Lakshman, let us rove.” [53] Slowly came the exile-wand’rers, when the sun withdrew his rays, Where the vast and sea-like rivers met in sisters’ sweet embrace, And the asram’s peaceful dwellers, bird of song and spotted deer, Quaked to see the princely strangers in their warlike garb appear! Rama stepped with valiant Lakshman, gentle Sita followed close, Till behind the screening foliage hermits’ peaceful dwellings rose, And they came to Bharad-vaja, anchorite and holy saint, Girt by true and faithful pupils on his sacred duty bent.

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas